Nissan in Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe will join forces to run a third instalment of the popular GT Academy in 2011, it has been confirmed.
The competition unites the worlds of virtual and real racing, offering one lucky winner the chance to realise their dream of becoming a certified racing driver. The virtual stage of GT Academy will be played out on the ultra-realistic new Gran Turismo 5 game on PlayStation 3 - that has sold over three million copies in Europe since launching in November 2010. The stakes are high with places at the GT Academy Race Camp to play for and a fully-supported drive in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race as the ultimate prize.
GT Academy's global footprint is growing. 2011 marks the third season of GT Academy in Europe, as well as the inaugural year in the USA.
This year's European competition will run across 10 countries with the online gaming phase starting on Friday, 4 March and continuing until midnight on Sunday, 17 April.
Leaderboards for each participating territory will highlight the fastest 20 racers who will proceed to a live territory final. Only two from each final will make it to the intensive six-day driver training 'Race Camp' to be run at the world-famous Silverstone circuit. The winner of Race Camp will continue to be trained in high-performance Nissan race cars and compete in a series of national-level races in order to qualify for an international race licence and an entry into the Dubai race.
Since the first GT Academy in 2008, the innovative competition has established itself as a real and credible route into top-level motor sport for Gran Turismo gamers.
Lucas Ordoñez, the Spanish winner of the first instalment in 2008, went on to finish second in the 2009 European GT4 Cup and fourth in 2010. Frenchman Jordan Tresson, the winner of last year's GT Academy competition, finished equal fourth with Ordoñez in the GT4 series. Both racers are expected to announce new programmes for 2011 soon.
“In Gran Turismo 5 we continue to bring the worlds of real and virtual racing closer together and the GT Academy programme, in partnership with our friends at Nissan, perfectly illustrates this ambition,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo games and president of Polyphony Digital.
“It is also a great showcase for the fact that GT5 will continue to offer players more than just the game they have bought. It fully utilises the online functionality of GT5 and highlights the community elements.